Correct Installation for Skimmer Replacement

Daisy_DoolittleJune 28, 2011

11,000 gallon 1980 Florida gunite pool

Fibre Tech installed over gunite in 2001

My 1980 Baker Hydro skimmer was cracked horizontally in the throat so I called a licensed company to replace my skimmer

They replaced the Baker Hydro with an AstralPool Skimmer...

My Dilemma:

"Skimmer guy" left beige Baker Hydro Mouth protruding(varying levels of 2-5mm) on the vertical Water Line of the pool... The AstralPool Skimmer mouth is smaller and WHITE as is the grout of my new tile mosaic.. The termination point of my new mosaic tile install looks terrible... The SKIMMER GUY used a lot of hydraulic cement rolling back into the mouth at a 45degree angle and yet the old flange of the Baker Hydro still protrudes on the top of the skimmer mouth as well as the two sides by approximately 2-5mm... IMHO it looks sloppy... The TILE GUY blames the SKIMMER GUY and says the SKIMMER GUY should have taken out the throat and butted the NEW AstralPool Skimmer mouth up to the same place where the original BakerHydro sat...that giving the TILE GUY a clean termination point.....

SKIMMER GUY says that in FLORIDA it is NOT industry standard to take out the THROAT of an original skimmer bc it will compromise the integrity of the deck..

The two are arguing and both have agreed to do what I want.. What I want to know is what ISSSS the proper way to install a new skimmer throat in a 30yr old gunite drop????

ALSO, the Tile GUY is mad at the SKIMMER GUY for the SKIMMER GUY shifting the burden of cutting down the beige perimeter with a blade to the tile guy. TILE GUY SAYS, "I ONLY tile UP TO the skimmer mouth. The SKIMMER GUY gave u a sloppy job and i'm not cutting into his Baker perimeter bc if I do and it leaks then I don't want to be blamed...and if I mud hydraulic onto his protruding Baker perimter and the hydraulic cement doesnt stick to the Baker perimeterm,there is a possibility the mosaic i rolled just over the edge cracks away in a few years then you are going to blame my tile work. I dont hydraulic or thinset over plastic.. I won't do it"

Hopefully there is an old school pool guy who can tell me what industry standard is bc the 'finish' of this job is unbelievably sloppy and since pools are totally new to me,I would rather ask an expert.

Any input is greatly appreciated..

thanks, Daisy Doolittle

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Daisy Doolittle,

IMO. Cut 2' square in deck. Remove existing skimmer in its entirety. Place new skimmer. Secure with bag concrete mix. Re grout throat where plastic contacts tile throat.

Do not tile over existing plastic.

It shouldn't be that difficult. Good technician can do both the skimmer replacement and the repair of tile/grout.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:56AM
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Here is a link to our skimmer replacement. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Skimmer cracked during build

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 5:31PM
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I am questioning whether it is industry standard to leave the ORIGINAL SKIMMER MOUTH cast in original gunite pool drop(1980 Baker Hydro) in the SIDEWALL when replacing w new skimmer.....I am speaking of the rectangular MOUTH where the weir is attached... The SKIMMER GUY is saying it is industry standard to LEAVE the ORIGINAL SKIMMER MOUTH and have the NEW SKIMMER MOUTH set back 2inches and 45degreed back toward the actual skimmer???? I dont get why the SKIMMER GUY didnt cut out the MOUTH of the BAKER completely??? he swears it will compromise the integrity of the horizontal decking and tile line fascia????? is that true???
Problem is I have the beige perimeter of the Baker Hydro still protruding, the 45degrees hydraulic wall going toward the new skimmer,and it LOOKS SLOPPY bc the TILE guy is insisting the SKIMMER GUY should have cut the MOUTH out completely....

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:52PM
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This isn't in order:

A top down entrance as golfgeek suggested is the proper way. The entire skimmer, throat and all comes out, plus a couple inches of concrete that surrounded it so a new concrete and mortar bed can be poured/laid as needed to secure it.

A bond coat between the old and new concrete/mortar should also be applied.

The rebar around the old body is cut on the back side and bent out of the way to insert the new skimmer and then tied together just before pouring the new concrete. This usually requires a new but short piece of rebar rebar for each cut rebar, usually 3 pieces.

A grout/mortar bag (like a cake icing bag) is used to inject mortar where gaps exist, typically the sides and top of the mouth.

A couple bars, fully embedded in the cement just over the mouth of the skimmer is urged to add rigidity and strength over the span before resetting the coping is encouraged. It wouldn't do for someone to stand over the skimmer and have things crack.

Once the cement cures, retile. Hope you saved some from the original tiling (there's usually left over) so the newly laid tile matches.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 6:33AM
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Poolguy, Sorry for the delay in my response.
Btw,I live in Bergen County,NJ 1/2 the year and in Pinellas County....
I redid the ENTIRE wateline tile in conjunction with skimmer replacement, I ordered 10extra mosaic tile squares so yess a modification can be done and the tile run smooth once again...
I questioned the SKIMMER GUY'S Technique and directly said that I felt it was sloppy work VISUALLY for $1100.. REAL problem is,I'm from NJ and this is my first pool(VERY modest 2br/2ba)...I was there for install and it only took the installer 3 1/2 hours of work(one guy who worked and the other who mostly stared into space).... job complete.
Sooooo, essentially you ARE agreeing with my TILE GUY(he is orig from upstate NY) that this is a "Florida baked brain" skimmer job....
The replacement skimmer has a much smaller mouth than the original Baker and it TOTALLY freaks me out that on a 'modest pool' I invested in $25 a square Vidrepur fire glass mosaic(super cool) and I have this horribly sloppy beige Baker mouth still evident that 45's back into the new mouth..
I will post pics tmrw and I'm sure you will literally GASPPP!!!
The installer is 32 and been doing skimmers since he was 15 in FL.. He said, "Ma'am,this is the way I was taught from the original owner of the company." And I,trying to be polite said to him, "Well,please don't be offended dear. But I hope u r open minded enough to grasp that JUSSST bc u were taught something and it's been working ok for u for a long time, doesn't mean it's the TRULY correct way to install."
That being said, the SKIMMER COMPANY OWNER has agreed to make some sort of modification to my satisfaction..(I told him I would be asking online_
Do you think it would be possible to bust out the mouth of the new skimmer install and just RE MUD it all with Rebar as you said was correct???????
How should I propose it to the owner bc he swears that he is following Florida skimmer replacement standards..
Of course I dont want to insult him bc I want the job done right.
And FYI, the SKIMMER co. owner(who seems willing to compromise)DID say to me, "If we busted out the orig mouth,we would compromise the integrity of the deck." TILE GUY said, "ANDDD???? That ISSS his job at $1100 in FL...What is he worried about??? Purchasing another bag of Hydraulic and some rebar???" LOL
When you see the pics tmrw I hope you will have a better understanding, bc this entire thing has REALLY stressed me out... Another funny thing is this.. I have ONE vertical stress crack running on a vertical in the shell of the gunite now covered w Fibre Tech(11years old).. Guess where it is???? About 8 inches below where the 6x6 orig waterline tiles sat(skimmer throat busted and the domino effect was IMHO that there is now a VOID of some sort to the right of the skimmer mouth...(I let this 'problem' go for a year or so while I was up North.
When skimmer install guy opened up area for skimmer replacement(an 18x18 hole) I looked inside and dirt was 'solid enough' yet i'm sure there must have been some weakness behind that area from water rolling back there and HELLLOOOOO it's FL sand eh? too many things point to water erosion causing this stress crack.... that runs vertically...(about 6-8 inches pre skimmer replacement, NOW 20inches YIKES!)
anyway,late and I hope this all made some sense to you.
I just hope I can get the SKIMMER guy to come back for a modification...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:39AM
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Daisy Doolittle,

Could you post a copy of the "Florida Skimmer Replacement Standards" so the folks here can see what it is?

Is it an ANSI publication? Or is it just Florida BS?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:57AM
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LMAO at GolfGeek.... Ok,the SKIMMER GUY(owner)didn't exactly refer to it as "Florida Skimmer Code" but I directly asked him if it was considered 'industry standard" to leave the original skimmer mouth and he replied,"ABSOLUTELY." He said,"NOOOO reputable company in FL busts out the original mouth...It is JUST not done."
Quite honestly,I initially thought it was a 'half done' job bc of the age/level of the pool,but he swears he would give the same job on a $250,000 pool.... Who knows?
I will post a pic by 9pm.....
Btw, I wish I had a camera that could catch the Vidrepur Fire Glass at night.. I must say that the glow in the dark effect makes a very ho hum pool SPECTACULAR!!!! lol

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:14PM
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Seems the best idea should have been to replace it with the same skimmer. Waterco bought out Baker and offers what I think the is the same Baker Hydro that I'm replacing. Google 50w1050.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:17PM
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I was not agreeing with the Fl skimmer guy leaving the mouth. Quite the opposite. It all comes out plus a couple inches of gunite. Fresh concrete is laid and the new mouth and skimmer set and encased. Then it's re-tiled. Looks original then.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 10:26AM
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